Tactical advantage: The Leveson mind games continue

By Ian Dunt

MPs prepared to debate the Leveson report in the Commons today, as Labour and the coalition started drawing up competing pieces of draft legislation implementing its proposals.

The bizarre response to the inquiry comes as supporters and opponents of an independent regulator with statutory underpinning fight for strategic advantage amid an increasingly tribal debate.

Labour returned for cross-party talks with Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, but behind the scenes it was drawing up a draft bill which would be put to the vote in the Commons in January unless the government was prepared to launch its own plans.

Any vote would not be binding on the government but if it succeeded it would put David Cameron – who initiated the Leveson inquiry –in a precarious position.

Meanwhile, the coalition is still drawing up its own draft bill, although the explicit purpose of the process is to demonstrate how problematic such a law would be.

The Liberal Democrats – who have more caveats than Labour over the report but still broadly accept its central proposal – are also taking part in the government's draft legislation process.

Ed Miliband threatened to pull out of cross-party talks by Christmas if Cameron had not accepted Leveson's proposals.

All parties are operating without a firm grasp of how the political games are playing out in the country. While some polls have shown strong support for statutory regulation of the press, some point in the other direction.